By today’s standards, I was a pretty awful mother. I told my children they were bad—forget that hate the sin, love the sinner stuff. I told them that they had done something wrong. I used lots of “you” sentences, as in “you hurt your brother”, rather than the “I” sentences, like “I am sad that you hurt your brother.” I do understand the advances in psychology here and I no longer wince at “that behavior is unacceptable”. It is the language of child-rearing. So imagine my consternation yesterday when President Obama addressed the American people:
Now, I will accept that intelligence, by its nature, is imperfect, but it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged. That's not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it. Time and again, we've learned that quickly piecing together information and taking swift action is critical to staying one step ahead of a nimble adversary.Those are my italics. I think I know what happened. In his hasty attempt to show the world that terrorism has no place in his administration, the President grabbed his copy of “Child Rearing in the 21st Century” off the bookshelf (that’s the book crammed up against that best selling book for children Captain Underpants) instead of “The Wartime Rhetoric of Winston Churchill”.
Now, as I understand it, another rule of enlightened child rearing is to say firmly what you expect and set out the consequences for not conforming. As in “Janet Napolitano will apprehend the bad man or have a time out”.
In my day he would have spanked her.